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All posts for the month January, 2013

Ode to a Faithful Car (and a lesson about choices)

Published January 20, 2013 by christinenorris

Last Wednesday was miserable. It was pouring rain all night. Such a storm that a girl who was driving drunk smashed into a telephone pole down the street and took out my power. (She was okay)

I got up to a downpour (with power restored) and got myself together, which these days takes a little longer, since I have a couple of extra chores for awhile. My husband had abdominal surgery almost two weeks ago and can’t really bend or lift anything. So I was out the door on time, remembering everything, which for me last week was an accomplishment.

I decided to take a different route to work, because of the rain and the traffic. I made another choice to stay straight instead of taking a left hand turn. I went to an intersection that stinks on a good day and tried to make a left hand turn.

I got hit by a pickup truck.

The whole thing seems pretty surreal. If I had not gone a different way or if I had taken the left earlier, I probably would not have had the accident. Deliberate choices that led me to a specific point in time. I wasn’t trying to beat the guy or rush out into traffic or anything, I just didn’t see him. If I had written this bit in a manuscript, people would tell me its too coincidental. Life happens that way sometimes.

Yeah, it hurt, but I’m okay. Nothing broken but the car, and that upset me enough. I loved my car. It was the newest car I’d ever owned, the first car I bought all by myself.

greencar1

I was diligent in keeping it clean, no food and no drink but water in the car. I had 18 payments left.  It was good on gas and reliable. My mechanic loved how easy it was to maintain. And, I discovered, it was safe. The airbags did their job, and the damage to the truck, they tell me, was extensive. My car didn’t look so bad…

greencar2

but the insurance company totaled it. Goodbye, little car. You were great.

Now, if you’ve known me for any amount of time, I believe things happen for a reason. You can’t always get what you want, you get what you need. I have no idea the reason for this, except to make me have to go to court and pay fines and test out my insurance company (they have been great).  But… now I need a new car. And I got to go car shopping. I was sad to have to do it, but since there was no other choice, I put it in my mind that it had to be done.

And now I have, this…

redcar

It’s the same make and model of car I had, but newer, with upgrades and new features. I drove about four different cars, looked at even more, before I decided on this one. I am picky about my car. I want a used car that looks and drives as close to new as possible. This was the one that spoke to me as I was driving– as well as the one in the best shape inside and with the lowest mileage ( c’mon, I’m not that much of a girl, I know how to car shop). It was a great price and I am in love with it already.

And it’s RED. I have never owned a red car. Son, who went with me, approves.

So maybe there was some reason for me to have an accident and have to buy a new car. THIS car. Because apparently it has kind of an interesting history (it was a rental, then someone bought it, but owned it just over a month before he or she sold it again, which makes me wonder what happened in their life that they gave it up) and had just arrived at the dealership, like, three days ago. So who knows.

Old car, you were great and served me well. I’m sorry for how it all turned out. New car…I love you!

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Being Artsy-Fartsy

Published January 12, 2013 by christinenorris

I have discovered that most people I know who write, also do other creative things. Some paint or draw. Some sew. Some make music. Having a second (or third) creative outlet seems to be the rule of authors rather than the exception, which is interesting.

Among other things. I’ve done a lot of ‘crafty’ things in my life — when I had time and space, I would sew. Yes, I can sew. When I was younger, I did embroidery. I have crocheted (taught myself with instructions on the interwebz), and made candles, and sculpted with clay (not always with success).

Currently my thing is making beaded jewelry. It is fun, and easy, and I am addicted to shiny, sparkly beads. SHINY!  SPARKLY! I make more than I could ever wear–not that I wouldn’t try–and I did have some success selling it at a craft show, and to co-workers, so last week I got out a catalog and placed a LARGE order for beads and findings.  Large.

And…I relaunched my Etsy shop. There are a few things up there now, and as soon as my order comes in (TODAY! YAY!) I get it sorted, I will have more.  Mostly bracelets and earrings and matching sets. Nothing fancy or made of sterling silver, just simple and fun pieces that aren’t expensive. I plan to make some Steampunk pieces and maybe get back to making clay charms for bracelets and earrings later on in the year.

Now, I’m not doing this just for creative outlet. I would LIKE to make some money :). So if you happen so see a piece you like, buy it? If you want something in a certain color or theme, let me know, I do custom work. Share the link with friends you think are interested. I would appreciate it!

You guys rock.

 

 

 

Why I don’t review books.

Published January 7, 2013 by christinenorris

I am an avid reader. It comes with the job — both as a librarian and a writer, it’s just what you do.  You need to keep up with the market, stuff like that. And I used to write reviews for a lot of the books I read. On my blog, on Amazon, in magazines.

But I don’t anymore.

See, the thing is, that reviews are for readers. Only. They are so that anyone who is thinking about picking up a book can get other READER perspectives on it and decide if it’s worth plopping down the cash. Reviews are NOT to stroke the writer’s ego, or make the publisher feel good.  I mean, I suppose those things happen anyway, but they’re off-label uses. Long ago, when I was first starting out, I read a lot and wrote a lot of reviews, but now that I’ve published a bunch of books and do appearances and what-not, I’ve cut it out. Because I’ve seen what can happen.

The ‘you’re an author‘ card gets played. Oh yes.

My reviews were always truthful, because, as I said, they were for readers. And even if it was a book I didn’t particularly like, I would always try to find something nice to say. I was never nasty or snarky, nor did I ever personally attack an author. And yet, I’ve see it happen that when a book gets a less than five-star review from another author, someone will come along (maybe the author themselves) and start going off on how the reviewer/author must be jealous or not know what they are talking about or whatever.

First of all, it’s Bad Author Behavior to reply to a bad review. We know that. Especially in public. But there are those Special Snowflakes who do.  And I really don’t have time for the online flame wars that ensue when that happens. I  mean, I have tons of friends who loved Twilight. I…didn’t. And we all know how big a fight that can turn into.

Now there’s the other part. I have an agent, who is trying to sell my book, hopefully to a really great publisher. So what happens when that publisher Googles my name and sees that I’ve written a review of one of their books, and I didn’t like it? I would hope that they would be professional about it, and take it as the constructive criticism it is meant to be, and move on. But I’m not taking any chances.

So, while I am still an avid reader, I no longer review books. If you ask me if I liked one or the other, I will possibly tell you. Maybe.

But don’t count on it.

Happy New Year!

Published January 1, 2013 by christinenorris

Here it is again, January 1st. I was just going back over the list of posts on this blog. Yikes. I started it over a year ago, and only had 56 posts. Some of them were in 2011, so I posted less than once a week. I know I’ve let it slide, and honestly it wasn’t part of the plan, but I was also on a writing hiatus while finishing Grad School, so I guess it was bound to happen.

I don’t usually make resolutions, because I find that it puts a lot of pressure on me and, like most people, by the end of February I’ve been distracted by some new shiny (Squirrel!) and the resolve dissolves. I set a bunch of goals last year, and out of the six big ones, I actually accomplished…two. Ah, I was so full of hope then. And then life happened and all that stuff kind of got pushed to the side.

But, yanno, since Grad School is done (DONE!) I can start again. Just have to get myself motivated, which has proven to be a little more difficult than I thought. I can admit that to all of you, right? After Thanksgiving, I was finished school, and then getting ready for the holidays, and there was so much good TV to watch, and…I’ve hardly written a word in months. I don’t have any author visits or anything planned either. I feel so…lazy.

I never thought it would be this hard to get back to writing. But I am refilling my well, with good books and reviewing the TV shows that turn on the light bulbs.

It’s a new year. Fresh start. There are no more excuses to not blog (I just need something to blog about…) and hopefully get myself back into the whole being-an-author thing.  I have three books to finish and that is…scary. Terrifying. Especially since I only have some idea of what the final Library of Athena book is going to be about and haven’t started it yet.

Small steps, small steps….

Happy New Year!  Let’s hit the ground running!